Teaching Kids to Brush Properly
First steps, first words, first day of school; these are all great memories that parents cherish for years. First tooth brushing, on the other hand, is generally not one of the memories we think back on fondly. And unlike other firsts, their first time brushing on their own is really more about all the lessons that lead up to the moment than the moment itself.
Like all lessons with your kids, coaxing, convincing and crying will likely be involved, but don’t let that scare you. Below are a few tips to help you keep the tears (and the cavities) to a minimum and promote good dental care.
First, make sure you have all the right tools:
- A child-sized, soft bristle toothbrush. (For bonus points, let your little-one help pick it out. It might just help get them excited about brushing.)
- Children’s toothpaste that’s safe for their age.
- Flavored floss or flossing picks, which are usually easier for kids to handle.
- Flavored mouthwash (depending on your child’s age and preference).
Next, focus on making it fun:
- Brush your teeth with your child, and make sure you’re having fun while you do it! Show them that it’s what grownups do, and they’ll want to do it too.
- Dentist recommend brushing for at least two minutes, so consider putting on some fun music that they like while you brush. The length of a song is a great length of time to brush, and it’s a good excuse to throw in a few of your best dance moves. Next, focus on technique:
- Watch your child closely to make sure they are brushing in a circular motion as opposed to just sweeping back and forth.
- If they have a favorite doll or stuffed animal, have them brush their little friend’s teeth before brushing their own (make sure they have a separate toothbrush, of course). This will allow you to talk about proper technique in a way the child can see.
- Focus on molars, as this is generally a problem area for kids.
One last tip: be sure to schedule an appointment for them with you local Bright Now Dental office at least twice a year. Your dental hygienists will be able to see how they are doing and point out and areas that need additional attention.